Getting on the ice for a hockey game 2 nights ago I realized my thumb hadn’t recovered from an injury the prior week. It was evident I wouldn’t be able to take shots, a critical component of the game.
I ended up playing one of my best game in years.
My experience reminded me of the bestselling piano album of all time: “The Koln Concert” by Keith Jarrett.
On January 24, 1975 Keith was set to play a solo concert at the famous Koln Opera House. The specific piano he requested did not arrive and he was presented with a smaller piano he deemed unplayable. The piano was out of tune and had many issues. Furthermore, Keith had back pain and was ready to call it off. With some cajoling, Keith ended up playing. Despite the piano’s issues and being forced to stand on occasion, it resulted in one of the most memorable concerts and a masterpiece recording.
The record’s producer stated “Probably [Jarrett] played it the way he did because it was not a good piano. Because he could not fall in love with the sound of it, he found another way to get the most out of it.”
How is that what initially seems like a worst nightmare turns out to be a blessing?
It seems ironic that obstacles create a benefit than a curse.
We all have examples of situations in which we were forced out of our comfort zone and the disruption results in a great outcome.
Obstacles often force us to be creative and creativity is a common ingredient in many success stories.
Understanding the benefits of disruption, some people have used self-imposed obstacles to produce unique results. David Bowie once stated that accidents should be treasured and even planned rather than avoided. He would have musicians play instruments they weren’t comfortable with. As an example, one of his band members was trying to understand guitar feedback and the result was an odd sound which resulted in a highly recognized song intro (listen to the first 10 seconds).
Deliberately adding obstacles in our lives may have more value than we often appreciate given the potential for creativity and problem solving.
Have a great weekend, Karl
`The obstacle in your path forces you to find a better path. Tim Harford
Sometimes we do our best work not when things are going well, but when a wrench has been thrown in the works. Tim Harford